About a year ago, I went over my friend’s apartment for her annual anti-Valentine’s Day gathering, which basically entails about 15 girls determined to enjoy Valentine’s Day via friends, booze and snacks. It’s really just a reason to get together and drink. Of note: my friend who has hosted this bash in the past now has a boyfriend (yay!) so we’re going to have to plan around her this year.
One of the dishes that she made was Giada DiLaurentiis’ Pea Pesto Crostini. Knowing I’m on my diet, she showed me the list of ingredients before offering me one (I have great friends). Because of the parmesan and salt, I couldn’t eat it, but looking at the list of ingredients, it gave me some great ideas. I realized I could make my own version and infuse some new flavors. And so, I give you a slightly revised version of Giada’s Pea Pesto Crostini.
Original Recipe: Courtesy of Food Network and Giada found HERE
Revised Recipe: Courtesy of Me 🙂 Jackie
- 1 (10-ounce) package frozen peas, defrosted
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 lemon
- 1/4 cup (or a good handful) of fresh mint
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus extra for seasoning
- 1/3 cup olive oil or mix of olive and canola oil
Roughly chop the mint and place in a food processor, along with the peas, garlic, and ground pepper. Pulse together. With the machine running, slowly add the oil until well combined, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add the juice of the lemon and pulse a few more times. Season with additional pepper as necessary.
This can be put on a crostini (as the original recipe calls for) or can be added on top of meat or fish. Or as a simple dip with crudite. It’s delicious so however you choose to eat it, I hope you enjoy!
Note: Photo cred goes to Kim Sunee
One of the greatest loves of my life is potatoes. I’ll take them in any shape and form – fried, shredded, mashed, waffled – you name it, I’ll eat it. Unfortunately, potatoes are very high in potassium and are my no-no list. But I’ve found an alternative…cauliflower!
(Picture is from foodnetwork.com)
Cauliflower is like the new kale. It’s trendy and you see it everywhere, not necessarily as the original vegetable, but rather, cut up, shredded, diced, etc. It now takes the place of traditional carbs like rice or noodles. But it also works great in place of potatoes!
Now, if you haven’t had rice cauliflower or any of these other forms of cauliflower carbs, I will forewarn that it doesn’t exactly taste the same. It does taste a bit like…well…cauliflower. But that’s not a bad thing and in face, after a few bites, I find it tasty in its own way. And the good part is that it has the same consistency of a potato and when you add spices and other yummy ingredients, it no longer has the same cauliflower taste.
Here is a recipe for cauliflower mashed potatoes from the Food Network, which again, I’ve altered per the below instructions, to make it CKD-friendly. This is delicious, healthy, and an excellent side dish, even if you don’t have CKD.
Original Recipe here: Food Network “Mock” Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Revised Recipe Below: Me 🙂 Jackie
- 1 medium head cauliflower
- 1 tablespoon cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 tablespoon sour cream
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1/8 teaspoon sodium-free chicken bullion cube
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh or dry chives, for garnish
- 3 tablespoons margarine
Set a stockpot of water to boil over high heat.
Clean and cut cauliflower into small pieces. Cook in boiling water for about 6 minutes, or until well done. Drain well; do not let cool and pat cooked cauliflower very dry between several layers of paper towels.
In a bowl with an immersion blender, or in a food processor, puree the hot cauliflower with the cream cheese, sour cream, garlic, chicken bullion, and pepper until almost smooth.
Garnish with chives, and serve hot with pats of margarine.
Note: My changes to this recipe were to essentially add more spice and make it smoother. I punched up the garlic an added some sour cream (and replaced margarine vs butter). If you don’t like it super garlicky, make sure you select a smaller-sized clove. Also, if you want to save time, feel free to buy the “riced” cauliflower but make sure to read the label to see if there are any additives (like salt)!
As you will see, I love salsa. I have a ton of salsa recipes because A.) they’re super easy B.) they’ve got a nice kick of spice and C.) I’m a fan of any type food where utensils aren’t required. Most salsas that you buy from a grocery story have a lot of salt or fruit/veggies that aren’t great for me, but after experimenting a bit, I realized that I can successfully make my own. So over the past 3 years, I probably have attempted to make over 20 varieties of salsa (I’m only posting the successes). Yes, I know – I’m salsa crazy.
This one in particular was inspired by the fact that I made a tortilla soup for dinner one night but needed something on the side. I started to make a salsa to blend in with the Mexican theme but realized I could really use a protein. So instead of adding chicken or shrimp to the soup, I just put it into the salsa. And the combination was AMAZING.
A note about shrimp: I love shrimp but they’re tricky for me because while they’re acceptable on the CKD diet, they are higher in sodium. So when I use them, I try to use them sparingly. This recipe is great because I can chop up a few shrimp and make a little go a long way. Also, I highly recommend that if you’re going to cook shrimp, you buy the raw ones. They can be frozen or fresh, but they’re so much better when they’re not pre-cooked. You can add whatever flavor you want and they cook to be much more tender.
Also, if you don’t like spice, you won’t like this recipe (or the rest of my salsas). That said, feel free to add as much or as little spice as you want – you can make this mild or super hot, but you need to be comfortable with a little heat.
Author: Me 🙂 Jackie
Prep Time: 20 Minutes
Cook Time: 20 Minutes
Total Time: 40 Minutes
- 1/2 Pound Raw (Fresh or Frozen) De-Veined Medium-Sized Shrimp
- 1 Tablespoon Canola Oil
- 1/2 Red Onion, diced finely
- 2 Limes
- 1 Tablespoon of Agave Syrup or Honey
- 1-2 Jalapeños (If you don’t like spice, only use 1 and remove the seeds), finely diced
- 1/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- Optional: 1/2 Fresh Avocado, Cut into Small Cubes (Note: If you have high potassium or your doctor recommends that you avoid potassium, please do not include this. I’m allowed to have some potassium in my diet and avocados are my potassium of choice.)
- Make sure shrimp are thawed and cleaned prior to cooking. Once they are ready, heat the canola oil in a pan over low heat. Place the shrimp in. Keep an eye on them as they cook very quickly. After about 3-4 minutes, flip them to cook on the other side.
- While they are cooking, take one of the limes and zest it over the shrimp. Cut the lime and squeeze half of it over the shrimp.
- Allow it to cook all the way through so it’s a light pink throughout and there aren’t any clear parts. It should be a total of around 5-6 minutes. Pull the shrimp off the pan and allow them to cool.
- While they’re cooling, chop all of your ingredients – the jalapeños, red onion, cilantro, and avocado. Place in a large bowl.
- Once the shrimp have cooled, remove the tails (throw them in the trash). Chop up the rest of the shrimp into bite-sized pieces. Add this to the bowl.
- Squeeze the other half of the lime into the bowl, as well as the full remaining lime. Add the agave syrup/honey. Mix together.
Take a bite to assess the level of heat and if you need to add more or less. If it’s too spicy, add more agave/honey. If it’s not spicy enough, add another jalapeño. This is a recipe where if it sits in the refrigerator for a few hours, the flavors all meld together and it gets better, so I also recommend trying it again later.
Enjoy this on its own as a dip or as a topping for a salad. Or maybe on a corn tortilla. YUM!